Monday, March 7, 2011

Ten tips on saving gas during the gas crisis

So, you're wondering "How do I save gas?" No doubt, you've heard lots of "secret" tips already, such as "Fill early in the morning when it's colder" and "Always buy $10 worth of gas at a time". The problem is they're all nonsense and will not save you anything.

Here's my top ten ways to save gas. These are GUARANTEED to work, or your money back!

1. Don't drive as much

If you don't drive all the time, you'll be amazed at the amount of gasoline you save. Believe it or not, cutting your driving in half will HALF your gas expenditures! Consider taking a shopping list to the supermarket so you don't have to make multiple trips when you forget things, and also try walking occasionally if you live somewhere where that doesn't put you at risk of being eaten by alligators.

2. Get a more efficient vehicle

Not an option for everyone, but certain vehicles are more efficient than others. Do you really need a 10mpg pick-up truck when a minivan, maybe with a trailer for those occasions you really need the space, will do the job? Or if you're just transporting yourself to work every morning, consider a motorbike, or a vehicle with less cargo and passenger room. And, as with (1), consider the benefits of a bicycle. Or carpooling.

3. Get your engine looked at

Did you know that if your car doesn't work properly, it might use more gas than it should? No, seriously! It's true! If your vehicle doesn't seem to be as efficient as it once was, it might be time for a tune up and a general round of maintenance.

4. Stop driving like a total jack-wagon

Nobody's asking you to drive at 45mph on the Interstate, but c'mon! Do you seriously need to ride the brake as you vary between 70 and 90, trying to overtake everything in sight? Try leaving five minutes earlier and driving safely. Every time you hit the brakes, you lose momentum and have to spend gas getting back to speed, so knock it off. Oh, and by the way, you might be little less of a stressmonkey if you start doing that. Just saying.

5. Tell the politicians and nimbys to knock it off

Do you know why you have to drive for five minutes to get to the local supermarket? It's because a bunch of idiots got together and said to themselves "You know what? We should have an absurd, overbroad, "zoning" requirement so that residential neighbourhoods aren't sullied by businesses." Why did they do that? Well, that's anyone's guess (mine? Corruption), but something tells me there's pretty much no downside to having a supermarket that's five minutes walk away rather than five minutes drive away - even if you intend to drive to it anyway.

6. Do you really need that anvil?

It's not going to make a huge difference, I mean, your car is like 2,000lbs anyway, so reducing the amount of crap in the back isn't going to make a huge difference to the mass you're transporting, but every pound of weight in your car requires additional force to propel it forward - and whenever you hit the brakes, you lose that force. If your car has stuff in it you'll never need, take it out.

7. Look at your route, shorter isn't always cheaper

Each time you hit the brakes, you have to waste fuel returning to the same speed you were at before, while maintaining a steady speed doesn't really use up that much fuel. That's a major reason for the difference in fuel consumption between "City" and "Highway". There's no hard and fast rule here, but at least consider going by a different route if there are fewer junctions along it. Try it for a week, measure your consumption, and see what the results are.

8. Tell everyone else to cut their fuel usage

The price of gasoline isn't high because it's expensive to extract, it's high because more people want it. It's supply and demand. It's in your best interest to put ads for Priuses on the office breakroom wall, to start a car pooling club, and to have your employees work from home. Talking of which,

9. Telecommute

If you can work from home, do. It's a pretty good way to save fuel.

10. Buy cheaper gas

Different gas stations charge different amounts for gas, so shop around.

Do you have other tips on saving gas? Share them below!

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